I did it. I never thought I could, but I have!
It’s hard for me to believe, but after more than four years, my book, “Kick-Ass Kinda Girl: A Memoir of Life, Love & Caregiving,” about my life and its caregiving journey is finished and will be published this fall.
It’s a bit scary sharing my life story, but I’m hopeful that it will help continue the work I began with the Kathi Koll Foundation—supporting caregivers who are in the depths of their own journeys.
My hope is that by hearing about both my good times and hard times, from falling in love with my husband, Don, to helping him through the immense challenges of a paralyzing stroke for more than six years, other caregivers will see the many joys that are still possible both in their presents and in their futures.
As I write in the book, “My path taught me that today is merely a blink in time. As difficult as it is, life is worth living. In the deepest and saddest moments, somewhere there is a flower just blooming….The joy of life is being able to see the positives no matter how bleak the moments are. Just work through them. I promise you—there really is a rainbow of happiness around each challenge.”
“Kick-Ass Kinda Girl” will be released on October 9, but is available for pre-order now. Already, I’ve received some humbling compliments from people I truly respect:
Radio host and fellow caregiving author Peter Rosenberger wrote about the book, “For virtually her entire life, Kathi Koll’s lived in the front row seat of caregiving. From alcoholism to cancer—to Don’s debilitating stroke, Kathi felt the full force of brutal illnesses, and yet she dug deeply as a caregiver to respond to it all with a strength, honesty, and a dignity that blazes a trail for the rest of us.”
Dr. Harley Liker, a professor in the UCLA School of Medicine, said, “Like the 1984 Olympic U.S. Hockey Team win against Russia, Kathi Koll pulled off a miracle. Her husband Don was not supposed to live for long after suffering a catastrophic stroke let alone thrive for over six years in the comfort of his own home surrounded by loved ones. I witnessed Kathi’s spirited determination firsthand as she actively and lovingly addressed the challenges posed by Don’s debilitating illness. Kathi’s moving story is an indelible portrait of one woman facing the impossible with grace and gumption and never giving up.”
Donna Benton, the director of the USC Family Caregiver Support Center, noted, “Kathi offers encouragement for others who find themselves facing overwhelming circumstances when caring for sick family members regardless of their age, the nature of the disability or their financial situation. Kathi brings a unique perspective to a universal experience, and her story offers valuable lessons on how caregivers can improve the quality of their lives and by doing so, improve the quality of care they give others.”
Ambassador Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and a best-selling author, said, “Kathi Koll’s passion and spirit shine. Her story is a stellar example of a life fully lived despite devastating circumstances. Read it, read it again, and gift it to someone who needs a dose of laughter-through-tears along with a lot of inspired practical ideas for caregiving as a dynamic, creative and uplifting act of love.”
And, in addition, I am so excited that book reviewers have also reacted positively to “Kick-Ass Kinda Girl”:
“An engaging, warts-and-all telling of the ups and downs of a full-time caregiver.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A standout in the literature surrounding grief, recovery, and illness.”—Midwest Book Review
“…an entertaining roller coaster of a memoir whose second half will be particularly pertinent to caregivers.” —Foreword Clarion Review
“Koll comes across as a potential friend, someone who listens well and willingly opens her heart. Since she can’t be everywhere to help those who need her hard-won wisdom for moving forward, Kick-Ass Kinda Girl is a worthy surrogate.”—BlueInk Review
Although my book is in no way a how-to book, I hope these early readers are right and that my book will bring hope and inspiration to other caregivers, because they are the reason I wrote the book. I feel so much love and compassion for caregivers. Caregivers often feel like they are secondary, but they are always primary. Without them, their loved ones wouldn’t be able to survive. Caregivers support their loved ones and our world with amazing strength and effort.
I hope my story will bring other caregivers some joy, some empathy and a little support as they make their way through their own life stories.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will also help support caregivers in need. Please visit my book website, kathikoll.com, if you are interested in learning more about “Kick-Ass Kinda Girl.”
To make an online donation to The Kathi Koll Foundation, please click here.